"Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Luke 16:19-17:10 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day. 20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, 21 and longing to be fed from the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table; not only that, the dogs also were coming and licking his sores. 22 Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms. 24 And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
17 Now He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to one through whom they come! 2 It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he is thrown into the sea, than that he may cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 But the Lord said, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.
7 “Now which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him after he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and recline at the table to eat’? 8 On the contrary, will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”
In today’s text Jesus says: “‘…Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” The truth is, as we will celebrate in just a few days, someone did rise from the dead, yet many are not persuaded by His testimony. Romans 10:9-10 says: If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. It is vital for salvation that we fully believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead. The resurrection is not just literal. It is not about being raised to heaven in spirit. John 20:19-29 says: Now when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were together due to fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be to you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” But Thomas, one of the twelve, who was called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later His disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Place your finger here, and see My hands; and take your hand and put it into My side; and do not continue in disbelief, but be a believer.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you now believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jesus was raised from death to life in body. In Luke 24:39 Jesus said: “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, because a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you plainly see that I have.” Jesus says: “Because you have seen Me, have you now believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 says:We walk by faith, not by sight.
The night that Jesus was betrayed, when He shared the last Passover with His disciples, it says: as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28) God raised Jesus from the dead. The resurrection if the Father’s seal on the new covenant we have in Christ. It is the authentication of all the promises that we have in Christ. It proves what Jesus said on the cross in John 19:30: “It is finished!” “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, may Ephesians 1:2-14 be our prayer today:Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. Amen.